I am a negative fan, and I enjoy every minute of it.
Yes. I read Twilight, the Left Behind series and Laurel K. Hamilton’s novels (Everything after Obsidian Butterfly, that is .Everything before rocked socks in a positive way) because they suck. I’ve watched Skyline multiple times, and you all know how I feel about that.
In fact, I someday hope I can have my own negative fan group so that we can discuss Why Authors Write Bad Things. Because I don’t understand the phenomenon—you’d think you’d, like, be able to tell—and the only way to educate myself on the subject is to, you know, actually do it.
However, something that positive fans say to we negative Nellys (“If you don’t like it, don’t read it!”) ignores a big part of why bad whatever fans are fans of their bad whatevers. It’s something we don’t want to admit, but it’s true none-the-less.
We do like it.
We spend fifteen dollars on an Amazon rental and a rifftrax so we can watch Clash of the Titans. We own every single episode of MST3K and we watch them with popcorn. We pay money to see the Room and watch Tommy Wiseau’s ass wander across his bedroom. We do it in groups and giggle to each other. We read Twilight, watch the movies, and then go congregate at Reasoning with Vampires or Mark Reads Twilight so that we can get greater enjoyment out of the experience. I love the Left Behind series because it is terrible, because it is a horrifically wonderful mélange of my faith and total WTF-ness, and because how do you fuck up the Second Coming? And then write a goddamned sequel?!?
Maybe if I ever do get published and I do get my own group of bashers, it’ll change. I’ll want to crawl into my own little hole and whimper to myself about how horrible these people are. I will hate the people who get such enjoyment out of hating my work. But I can’t imagine forgetting my own enjoyment of the crack so thoroughly.
It’s not personal. If anything, it’s the opposite of hating the author/ writer/director. Why should we hate you? You provided the crack! Part of me wants to snuggle S. Meyer for kindly providing the world with Breaking Dawn, Nina Bangs for giving me Eternal Prey, and the special effects team that gave us Skyline, the movie so bad it attempts seppuku halfway through its runtime. Hamilton has provided weeks of quality entertainment in her first ten books; she has provided years of crack with everything else she’s written, and you know what? It’s still good storytelling. It’s just…kinda lost in there. You know. Under the porn. (It’s porn. If your main character has a male harem whose only purpose is to get her preggers, we are not pretending it isn’t porn anymore)
Yes, there are people who genuinely hate the authors…but you know what? They don’t read them anymore. I refer to my not-so –infrequent trips back to LKH’s section of the bookstore as “falling off the wagon” for a reason. I know those books are not good for me. I know I will hate myself in the morning. I know the plot will not be what I want, that the tantalizing hints of good storytelling will never pay off…but you know what? This is a series where sex with the MC is that series’ sonic screwdriver. It is the kind of comedy gold you cannot make up unless you are totally and absolutely serious about it, and that makes it fucking priceless.
When I have issues with a crack writer, it’s not about their writing. It’s about their behavior IRL, and there are a lot of fantastic authors that I have equally strong issues with because as soon as you get them away from the typewriter they kind of turn into an ass. If a writer can produce something uniformly awful and then be a good sport about it? I will not only buy the book, I will buy you dinner.
Everybody wants to be taken seriously. To be the great (insert whatever here). Everybody wants to get nominated for an academy award with their first movie (DISTRIC 9 SHOULD HAVE WON. IT SHOULD HAVE WON ALL THE THINGS. That’s all I’ll say on the subject.) or get a Pulitzer, or at least a Hugo, for their first work. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes the public looks at your baby and goes…uh, really? You’re serious about this? And they either like it, hate it, or break out the popcorn and call the guys from MST3K, because this is gonna be a party, man.
And you know, if I had a choice—and you really never do—I’d rather have people love my books because they suck than ignore them because they’re…meh, almost good enough. I’d love to sit on the couch with hypothetical fans and discuss just how crazy that was and why I should never. Do. That. Again. (Except for the right group I totally should. Crack is almost as hard to find as good books) I’d rather be the Rocky Horror Picture Show or the next Amanda McKittrick Ros than I would be just good enough. It may not look like it from the outside, but people like me love Eye of Argon, and the Gor novels (shudder. The Gor novels) and The Aztec Mummy Vs. The Robot, and those old 1950s rocket man shorts. Our lives would be incomplete if we could not elect to tear one off with Asylum pictures like Megashark Vs. Giant Octopus.
We are the love-to-haters, the negative fans, and you will get your books back when you peel them out of our cold, dead fingers.